Meet The Team

The Beacon Teaching Alliance team are:

Mrs Monica Shepherd

Director of Teaching School

Experience as

  • HT Board Member and Director of Hexham and Newcastle RC Partnership
  • Director of Beacon Teaching School Alliance
  • Director of St. Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy
  • Academy Accounting Officer
  • Leader of a National Support School (NCTL)
  • National Leader of Education (NCTL)
  • Member of City of Sunderland Education Leadership Board
  • Mentor for those considering senior leadership within secondary education
  • Head Teacher Governor (secondary)
  • Head Teacher
  • Deputy Head Teacher
  • Assistant Head Teacher
  • Subject Leader/Head of Department
  • Mentor for those considering teaching and trainee teachers
  • Parish Councillor
  • Foundation Governor (primary)

Mr Michael McDonagh

SLE in Mathematics

Michael has a BSc(Hons) Graduate in Mathematics with a postgraduate MSc in Applied Statistics and Statistical Education. He has been a teacher for over 27 years.  Michael has taught in a number of different schools across the North East an in a number of subjects, principally Mathematics and Further Mathematics but also Economics and Computing. He was Subject Leader for Mathematics for over 10 years.  Michael is currently Deputy Head Teacher responsible for the curriculum, data and assessment. He completed his NPQH in 2016. Michael has worked with a number of colleagues across different schools and departments to raise pupil achievement, both as an SLE and a senior leader over the past 5 years.  Michael’s SLE role is as an SLE for Mathematics however he is able to offer wider support based upon his experience in Leadership

Areas of support:

  • Raising achievement in Mathematics
  • Leadership and management of departments
  • Leadership and management of the curriculum
  • Use of data to inform Teaching and Learning
  • Use of data to inform curriculum planning
  • Use of data to inform intervention

Mrs Marie Lanaghan

Deputy Head Teacher

Marie has taught Religious Education for twenty years.  She was Subject Leader of RE for seven years before being appointed Assistant Head with responsibilities for CPD and Partnerships.  Marie is currently Pastoral Deputy Head Teacher. Marie has recently achieved the NPQSL qualification and has led various successful department and whole-school initiatives.  She has a proven track record of leading a very successful department and has achieved very positive outcomes for students across all ability ranges.  She works with the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle’s School Inspection Team and can offer guidance to schools preparing for Diocesan inspections

Miss Jude Wallis

Deputy Director of Teaching School SLE in CPD and S2S Support

Jude has been a teacher for over 16 years.  She has taught a number of subjects, principally History but also Law and English and was Subject Leader for Social Sciences for 6 years.  This included leadership and management of 11 different subjects and over 20 staff.  She has been the school coordinator for Teaching and Learning since 2014 and is currently responsible for CPD within school and the Teaching School as well as partnerships. Jude was designated as an SLE in 2013 and since then she has worked with a number of colleagues across different schools and departments to raise pupil achievement.  Working with colleagues from other schools and supporting the progression of young people is something she really enjoys and she looks forward to working with more colleagues in the future.

Areas of support:

  • Raising achievement in History
  • Leadership and management of departments
  • Teaching and Learning

Mrs Samantha Ward

Deputy Director of Teaching School SLE in ITT and MFL

Samantha is a very experienced subject leader in MFL, who leads a strong department with an excellent track record of success, achieving consistently strong results at A level and GCSE. She is a Specialist Leader of Education in MFL and has worked collaboratively with a number of colleagues in schools in the region to share innovative ideas and best practice in order to raise pupil achievement in languages. Her areas of expertise include raising achievement in MFL, teaching and learning, assessment and effective monitoring and intervention.

Samantha is also responsible for ITT and coordinates the school based training for School Direct secondary trainees as well as for Durham and Sunderland University PGCE students. She enjoys the opportunity to guide and support trainee teachers to build on their strengths and develop their expertise and skills in the classroom. She has excellent communication skills and is committed and passionate about education and working in collaboration with other schools to share knowledge and experience that have demonstrated real impact for learners.

Mrs Julia Adamson

SLE in English

Julia is a highly qualified Subject Leader of English with expertise in all areas of the teaching of English and Media Studies.  She is an English Specialist Leader of Education and she is also the Marketing Co-Ordinator for Beacon Teaching Alliance.  Julia has recently achieved the NPQSL qualification and has led various successful department and whole-school initiatives.  Her areas of expertise include raising achievement and progress in English, stretch and challenge for A&T students, raising aspirations for disadvantaged students, behaviour for learning, and effective use of assessment data.  She has a proven track record of leading a highly successful department and she has achieved very positive outcomes for students across all ability ranges.  She is committed to teaching and learning, has a passion for her subjects and enjoys the challenge of teaching in the contemporary classroom.  Her interpersonal skills have proven successful in dealing with students and staff at all levels, and she is happy to share her expertise and experience to support others.

Areas of support:

  • Raising achievement and progress in English
  • Stretch and challenge for A&T students
  • Raising aspirations for disadvantaged students
  • Effective use of assessment data
  • Department leadership and management

Miss Sarah Jane Atkinson

SLE in English

Sarah-Jane is an SLE and coordinator within the English Department. She is an experienced English teacher who has worked at St Anthony’s Academy for over four years. Her responsibilities include training, development and leading of staff, coordination and management of whole year groups within the English Department, KS3 curriculum development, and data analysis. Since becoming KS3 English Coordinator four years ago, Sarah-Jane has implemented many new strategies to develop the attainment and achievement within English, including a re-designed KS3 curriculum and the implementation of new marking and assessment policies. Sarah-Jane also works very closely alongside the Head of English to devise and develop new policies and procedures on a department-wide scale, including moderation and standardisation, pupil tracking and staff development. Sarah-Jane also has experience of being an ITT mentor through a range of training providers, and contributes towards the training of student teachers on a school-wide basis.

Miss Philippa Clafton

SLE in English

Philippa Clafton is currently Head of English and an Assistant Head Teacher at an all-boys school at St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, Sunderland. Philippa has been a leader of English for the last 5 years and is currently studying leadership to gain her NPQSL qualification. Philippa has a passion for literacy and English and has supported school leaders in enriching their curriculum by identifying and promoting usage of subject specific vocabulary within lessons. Her areas of expertise include:

  • Curriculum design – choosing appropriate texts and assessments to encourage and promote deeper thinking.
  • Raising boys’ progress in English.
  • Behaviour for learning.
  • Promoting reading across the school.

She is driven, committed and passionate, contributing to the success of her department and has achieved excellent outcomes for all students.

Areas of support:

  • Raising achievement and progress in English with a specific focus on boys.
  • Enriching curriculum that stretches and challenges all students.
  • Effective use of assessment.
  • Department leadership and management.
  • Whole school reading strategies

Mr Gerard Dunn

SLE in Mathematics

Gerard is an experienced Maths teacher who has worked at St. Anthony’s for over 18 years. He has held various roles in the academy and has been Mathematics subject leader for 3 years. During this time he has implemented new programmes of study at KS3 and KS4. He is proficient at data analysis and uses this to identify areas of underachievement. Various high impact strategies have been introduced to improve attainment and achievement. The 2016 GCSE results were very positive with 82% achieving A*-C, 26% achieving an A*/ A and 53% a grade B or above. The Mathematics Progress8 score of 0.13 compares favourably with other schools in the region. Disadvantaged students achieved 66% A*-C with a progress 8 score of -0.16.

Gerard was recently assigned SLE status and hopes to work with colleagues across different schools and departments to raise pupil achievement.

Areas of support:

  • Raising achievement in GCSE Mathematics
  • Closing the gap through targeted intervention
  • Tracking progress within a Maths department
  • Leadership and management
  • Data analysis

Dr Gillian Emery

SLE in Science

Gillian is a highly qualified Subject Leader of Science with a specialism in Biology.  She is Specialist Leader of Education and a Teaching School Co-Ordinator for Beacon Teaching Alliance.  Gillian has achieved her Master’s degree in Educational Research and has much experience helping teachers investigate their own practice and share their expertise by leading Action Research programmes and TeachMeets.  Gillian has led on various research projects at both a local and national level.  Her areas of expertise include raising achievement and progress in Science, Evidence Based Practice (Action Research, Lesson Study, Randomised Control Trails), NQT induction and EPQ coordination.

Gillian has a passion for her subject and enjoys the challenge of teaching pupils of all abilities across the secondary age range.  She is skilled at coaching and mentoring staff and students alike and is happy to share her expertise and experience to support others.

Areas of support:

  • Raising achievement and progress in Science

Mrs Catherine Dugdale

SLE in Science

Catherine is an experienced Science teacher and has been working at St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy for over 12 years.  In July 2017 she was awarded the level of Leading STEM teacher as part of the STEM Educators scheme.  Catherine has a strong commitment to educational research and has participated in Stage 2 and Stage 3 action research projects aimed at enhancing student performance in Science through the use of oracy and developing metacognitive approaches.  Catherine has achieved her Master’s degree in Advanced Professional Practice in Secondary Education and has much experience in helping teachers investigate their own practice by mentoring colleagues completing action research projects and ITT students.  Catherine has also worked in the Pastoral System as a Year Leader for 9 years and has a proven track record of mentoring disadvantaged and challenging students to achieve positive outcomes across KS3 and KS4.

Catherine is passionate about teaching Science and enjoys the challenge of teaching pupils of all abilities across the secondary age range.  She is skilled at coaching and mentoring staff and students alike and is happy to share her expertise to support others.

Mrs Sarah Marshall

SLE in MFL

Sarah has been teaching Modern Foreign Languages for 14 years and currently leads the Modern Foreign Languages Department at St. Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy, a successful department with a strong history of results across all key stages.  She is a Specialist Leader of Education in MFL and through this role has worked collaboratively with many colleagues in the area.  Sarah has participated in Action Research and works diligently to raise the achievement of pupils studying languages.  As well as working with teachers at all levels, Sarah is fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with others schools on a diverse range of projects from engaging and motivating pupils at KS5, delivering training sessions to Initial Teacher Trainees at Durham University and working with local primary schools to both upskill primary staff in language learning and also to ensure a good provision of languages at KS2. Sarah also delivers a range of courses to cater for staff development including Teacher Subject Specialism Training.  Sarah has excellent interpersonal skills and can motivate and enthuse others by being a positive role model and by working sensitively and collaboratively to help colleagues and leaders to develop their practice and confidence in order to improve standards.  She is motivated not only by the desire to develop her own performance and skills but to help others to maximise their own potential for the good of all our students.

Areas of support:

Raising achievement in Modern Foreign Languages.

Mrs Kate Wallace

SLE in Design and Technology

Mrs Amy Roddam

SLE in PE

Amy has been a PE teacher for over 14 years.  She has been the Subject Leader for PE for 9 years.  This includes leadership and management of 6 staff.  Amy has also been an examiner for AQA since 2005 and has a great deal of experience in working with ITTs, NQTs and RQTs.  In terms of professional development Amy completed a Masters Degree to distinction in Practitioner Enquiry in 2013 and has most recently completed the NPQML course in 2015.  Amy was designated as an SLE in 2014 and since then she has worked with a number of colleagues across different schools and departments to raise pupil achievement.  Working and supporting colleagues from other schools and supporting the progression of students is something she really enjoys.

Areas of support:

  • Raising achievement in PE
  • Leadership and management of departments

Mrs Laura Dudley

SLE in Music

Laura is an SLE and Subject Leader for Music. Her responsibilities include leading and management of staff (including a team of peripatetic staff), tracking and assessment of pupils and creating schemes of work, as well as running an extensive extra-curricular programme including management of whole school productions.  Laura has successfully led the department through both a whole school and a thematic department OFSTED inspection, and also has successfully mentored School Direct trainees to ‘outstanding’ level. Her department has been awarded the ISM Bronze award for the last two years for uptake and achievement at GCSE level.  During her career, Laura has worked with colleagues in a number of support roles, including implementing programmes of study, helping to raise achievement and delivering A level Music.

Areas of Support:

  • Achievement and uptake at GCSE level
  • Delivering A level Music
  • Creating and resourcing KS3 programmes of study
  • Developing extra-curricular activities/programmes to enrich the curriculum.